Welcome to career fair and internship season! This marks a great time to discuss something I try to instill when visiting schools that applies not only to students, but to everyone as well: tailor your resumes to each client. On average, hiring managers only spend seconds looking over your resume – and those seconds will either make you or break you.
There are numerous things you can do to ensure that your resume will make it past the “screening” stage. When scouring the numerous boards and websites for your next “dream job,” it can be difficult to keep your focus on the key responsibilities and/or requirements that a client is looking for with their particular role. Here’s how you can start to peel away some of the fluff and get to the core of the client’s needs in order for you to position yourself for success.
It’s important to focus on each job individually. Try not to use your same old resume and/or portfolio and blindly apply to every UX job you come across. It really makes a difference if you take your time and dissect the description, starting with carefully reading over the summary. Get a good understanding of the type of person they’re looking for and ask yourself questions along the lines of:
Would you fit into this role? If so, how? What experience, goals or ambitions do you have that would make you a good fit? Did you hold an internship or previous positions in a similar industry, client base, or corporate structure? If so, start things off right by adding these points to your Summary or Objective section.
Next, let’s move on to the bullets. Companies will typically list out their requirements, which are usually in order of importance. If the first bullet is asking for “X” number of years in a specific role or type of experience, be sure to mention this clearly on your resume. You may even consider making it your own bullet or listing it as the first line in your roles and responsibilities.
Last – but certainly not least – are the hands on skills. Depending on your role or the type of position you’re going after, I recommend only adding the essential skills to your resume. It could be valuable to mention that you’re proficient with Photoshop, but it’s not necessary to add the number of years you’ve been using it or even the different versions. Unless it’s specifically mentioned that it’s required for the position, avoid listing every app you’ve ever used, including outdated apps, and wherever possible, list the suite (ex: MS Office). Simply said: if it’s not relevant, keep it off!
If you’re having a hard time customizing your resume because you’re finding that you just don’t possess the hard skills a company is looking for, but are still very interested, your best bet is to write a cover letter. Be honest and tell them why you want to work there or why you think you’d be a great fit. And most importantly, be sure to direct it to the correct company. Too often people forget to change the company name and I can assure you that there’s no quicker way to get your resume tossed.
Good luck and look for more installments of “Blueprints to Getting Hired” coming soon!